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This week from Charleston

By Staff | Apr 18, 2014

One of the bills proffered by the Governor the Governor this year was to promote easier transferability of professional licenses of members of the military and their spouses. HB 4151 passed both houses and is now the law. This initiative, which has been promoted by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden has led to changes in the law in over 25 states in the last two years. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for spouses to easily find work while moving from state to state or even overseas with their active duty spouse.

The reason for the bill is straightforward: military families are ten times more likely to move from one state to another than their civilian counterparts, and 35% of military spouses work in professions that require state licenses, certifications or registrations. Oftentimes, when members of the armed forces, including spouses, return to West Virginia after active duty, they are delayed in beginning employment as professionals because of issues with obtaining licenses, certifications or registrations upon arrival. We should not make some of the most qualified people wait before entering West Virginia’s workforce.

House Bill 4151 will:

provide temporary licensure options for military spouses so they may begin working in West Virginia within a month of applying for a license;

allow boards to customize temporary licensure and fee waiver procedures;

allow boards to require criminal history background checks of temporary licensure applicants and deny any application based on safety risks to the public;

and waive temporary licensure fees if a military spouse applicant has paid a fee for an out-of-state license within six months of filing an application in West Virginia

the bill lessens some of the requirements for continuing education for people on active duty in the Armed Forces.

West Virginia has one of the highest per capita rates for Veterans. This state should be as attractive to active duty armed service members as it is to veterans. Making small changes in the law to make it easier for spouses and members to work here is the least we can do. This is especially the case in the Eastern Panhandle. Can you imagine a registered nurse moving from another state being delayed while waiting for bureaucratic paperwork from Charleston? It is enough of a burden that they might have to go to the DMV!